Today a new partnership was announced in the US horticultural industry. Bluehouse Greenhouse Inc, which recently revealed their plans for a 2.8 million square feet greenhouse and energy agro-park, signed a strategic partnership with Longvine Growing Co, the rebranded Houweling’s Group, to market its California greenhouse-grown tomatoes and cucumbers.
"We will grow more than 50 million of pounds of sustainable fruits and vegetables a year to be distributed to premium customers throughout the US," the team with Bluehouse Greenhouse shares. "We will tailor specialty product offerings for Longvine, to support the growing demand for fresh, sustainable produce."
The "Long Vine Growing Co" rebranding project was initiated in early 2020 as the Houweling Family exited its ownership position from the US operations: Longvine recently reported the sale and transition of the 125- acre Camarillo, CA greenhouse, which the company leased and operated. The new brand showcases the company's new vision and direction in the marketplace while building off its twenty-five-year history under Houweling’s brand across North America.
In addition to providing market access to a robust customer base, the partnership also allows the BHGH team to unlock the established growing, technical and service expertise among the Longvine Growing Co team when commissioning the new facility. "Sustainability, quality, taste and price drive consumer purchases while food safety, traceability, consistency, and high service levels are key drivers for retailers and foodservice operators. Being able to draw on Longvine’s strong reputation and experience in these areas is instrumental in meeting the increasingly stringent demands within controlled environment agriculture." says Ari Kashani, Founder of Bluehouse Greenhouse.
"We've on-boarded some of the most experienced partners from all segments of the industry who are committed to growing the Bluehouse Greenhouse vision. I'm genuinely excited to embark on this journey with the Longvine team. They have deep industry knowledge that we can benefit from along with long-term relationships with key retail partners."
Sale and transition
The partnership announcement is well timed as Longvine recently reported sale and transition of the 125- acre Camarillo, CA greenhouse, which the company leased and operated. "The addition of the state-of-the-art BHGH project offers Longvine another flagship example of sustainable and high-density agriculture, alongside its Mona, Utah facility and headquarters," Longvine CEO, Kevin Doran notes.
“We’ve partnered with a passionate operator and entrepreneur who has pulled together a talented team. They have the right operational mindset, strong vision, and they ask the right questions to successfully execute as an operator of a high-tech, modern growing operation. We are excited to support their team in bringing the project to life, which will in-turn add value to our customer portfolio."
The Bluehouse Greenhouse team focuses on local production. "Today, over 60% of the vine-crops consumed in the United States are imported from other countries. Unstable climate conditions, a diminishing labor pool and an increased demand for local, traceable fruits and vegetables are key drivers behind the Bluehouse Greenhouse agro-park development and this partnership," they explain.
"Over the past 25 years, Longvine has supplied its customers across North America with the highest quality fruits and vegetables available to the market. Partnering and investing in Bluehouse Greenhouse will further substantiate Longvine’s leading industry position."
Control and automation
The Bluehouse Greenhouse master plan development located in Southern California will combine hightech control systems and automation technologies, with a specially designed energy system maximizing environmental control within the high-tech farm.
The glass greenhouse will use natural sun light as well as sustainable thermal energy to operate its optimized ecosystem. “We are advancing agriculture into the new era; a more sustainable one. Our controlled greenhouses will produce 3,000% more yield per acre than a traditional farm, will use 95% less water, require 90% less labor and will be free from any herbicides.” says Kashani. “The highly controlled ecosystem enhances crop growth and quality by maintaining the most comfortable climate for plants to thrive in year- round."
Tomato, cucumber, lettuce and berry
The 58-acre flagship facility, which includes 38 acres dedicated to high-wire tomato and cucumber crops and 20 aces for lettuce and berry production, has been meticulously designed by ALPS, a world-class design firm focused on the development of high-profile projects in Controlled Environment Agriculture. "We've taken sustainability to new heights when designing this facility." says Thomas Larssen, President of ALPS. "From crop balance, energy balance, efficiencies, use of automation, food safety protocols and everything in between, we've designed the most secure and resilient operation of this type in the country.”
The agro-park facility also includes a 13.2 megawatt energy center on site, being developed in partnership with Endurant Energy. The closed loop, self-sustaining ecosystem will draw from the most advanced elements of sustainable agriculture and energy generation to maximize productivity, sustainability, and profitability. Detailed crop planning allows for facility optimization, bringing security to its partners and investors. The sustainable Food + Energy ecosystem is set to break ground in Winter 2021 and will be in production in Winter 2022.